Volume 3: Chapter 162 – The Clash at Piena Plains I (2/2)
The soldier Gowen sent to gather information was found dead nearby. There were no signs of fighting, so he was probably done in by the monsters.
“I didn’t expect them to catch him…”
That was a precious soldier Gowen had painfully raised, but this was no time to be crying.
“…Move the army. Send the cavalry to scout and watch the periphery,” Gowen said.
“My lord, would it not be wiser to return to the west for the time being?” A company commander asked.
Gowen shook his head. “No, we’re deciding this battle here.”
Gowen could not return back and reorganize his troops.
One reason was because of the lack of food.
The second reason was because the goblins unexpectedly ignored the fortress. Because of that Gowen ended up having to fight the goblins in the plains.
Originally, Gowen was hoping that the goblins would exhaust themselves trying to take down the fortress first, then he would come in and sweep them all away. Unfortunately, things did not go as he’d hoped, and the goblins split itself into two groups and attacked him.
At this rate, if Gowen does not quickly dispose the goblins, there’s a chance they might directly attack the west instead. There’s also the possibility that the other villages in the west would fall to the goblins.
If that were to happen most of the soldiers of Gowen’s army would surely lose morale, as most of them were the second or third son of a farming family.
Both as a feudal lord and as holy knight leading an army, Gowen’s choices in this battle have been limited due the movement of the goblin army.
“We’ll provoke the enemy depending on where they are. Hurry and get those chariots ready!” Gowen said to the company commanders and platoon commanders, then he took the infantry and assumed formation in the plains.
“This is where we’ll decide the battle! If we don’t defeat them here, the west will become their hunting grounds!”
The various commanders went back to their platoons, and Gowen waited for the scouts to return.
It wasn’t until an hour later that the scouts returned.
“The enemy has left the hills. They are marching toward us!” The scout said.
Gowen drew his sword and commanded his army. “All forces assume the deep battle formation and march!”
Morale in the Goblin King’s army was high as usual. It was almost as if that earlier defeat did not happen.
The goblin army began moving before the sun had even risen.
When Gi Gu and the others lead, the morale wasn’t low by any means, but the morale when the Goblin King was in charge was in a league of its own.
The goblin army including the elves and the demihumans numbered 1500 men strong.
It was on the hills that they passed the nights.
The goblin army’s numbers was by no means small, so there was not much room for them to spread their forces. Even if they tried, the terrain would get in the way, and it would not be easy to give out orders.
When Gi Ji came back during the night, the king decided to moved out before the sun rose.
Using the harpies, the Goblin King was able to precisely pinpoint the location of the western army. The Goblin King led his army straight toward them just like a predator that has set its eyes on a prey.
After leaving the hills, when the goblin army entered the plains, the king ordered the army to halt and take formation.
The human army was up ahead.
The king knew that, so he gathered the noble and duke goblins.
“Gi Jii will lead the middle guard, while the flanks will be taken by the Gaidga and by Gi Gu respectively. On the leftmost wing will be the centaur and the fangs, while the Paradua will be taking the rightmost wing,” the king explained as he drew a rough sketch of a map on the ground.
The king did not discriminate between races.
“The elves, Gi Za’s druids, Ga Ga’s platoon, and the platoon under my direct control will follow after Gi Jii, and then at the rearmost will be Gi Ji and the harpies.”
“So we are to clash against them head on, my liege?” Gi Jii Yubu confirmed.
“Yes. If we cannot win a straight-up fight here, then our world domination is hopeless!”
At those words, everyone, from the demihumans to the elves to the rest of those participating in this war, tensed up.
The power they had gained from walking the path of carnage… It would not lose! The king was claiming. And they were about to prove it here in the battlefield.
“If the king wills it, then we shall crush the enemy without fail,” Gi Ga said, representing the will of those gathered.
As the king rose, he pierced the map he’d drawn with zweihander. “Now, let us take the first step in our path to world domination!”
With a great howl, the platoons scattered, and everyone returned to their respective platoons.
2 hours later, the goblin army entered the plains in formation.
“I can see the goblins!” The soldiers said.
Gowen, on horseback, looked on across the plains.
The sight of the approaching cloud of dust accompanied by the sound of the trembling earth made even the very air seem hotter.
“So you’ve come, monsters! And with boldness too!”
The goblin army approached them in formation.
It was the same deep battle formation that Gowen was using.
“…So you’re saying you don’t need tricks, huh,” Gowen muttered.
The goblins believed in their power, but so did the humans. Their morale from yesterday’s battle was high, as they were able to exhibit the strength of the chariots and the cavalry in the plains.
They could use the terrain to their advantage to win, but…
“If that’s what you intend, then I shall crush that dream of yours, monsters!”
The goblins’ intentions were clear from their actions.
They wished to surpass humanity. Because of that Gowen decided to take them in a straight-up battle.
That was a decision resulting from his pride as a holy knight.
“There will be no tomorrow if we retreat here! Neither us nor our family! For the sake of tomorrow, for the sake of our families, let us fight these monsters to the bitter end!”
The soldiers cheered and morale reached a new level.
Gowen had split his infantry into two groups: the vanguard and the rear guard.
The row of soldiers would slam into the goblins forces. If there was one major difference between Gowen and the goblins, it was that Gowen’s soldiers were exactly like each other.
It was a stark contrast to the goblins that had various tribes and characteristics in each row.
At Gowen’s command 500 soldiers advanced, but the goblins did not falter.
“Show them our strength! Don’t put on an unsightly display before His Majesty!” Gi Jii said.
His platoon was currently at the center of the goblin army.
There were many rare class among Gi Jii’s armored spearmen.
“Debts shall, be paid, in blood, humans!” The fierce arm, Gi Ba; the divine invader, Gi Ah; and the explorer, Gi Ii, were all a part of the battle demon, Gi Jii Yubu’s, forces.
But the ones with the highest morale of them all was Gi Ba, who possessed the Man-Eating Snake skill, and Gi Bu, who was a ‘wounded one’, having only one arm.
If Gi Gu’s generation were the first, then these goblins were of the third. They were the ones who were most affected by the human invasion, for it was they who were on the receiving end of the holy knights’ and adventurers’ attacks. They would never forget the fear and hate that was carved upon their souls that fateful day.
For them who has received Verid’s divine protection, the hate they bore toward the humans was greater than their fear of death. It was such that even the king’s orders, which were absolute among the goblins, would sometimes fail to reach their ears.
“They don’t seem to be slowing down,” Gowen muttered as he watched the armies approach each other.
In a fight between humans, normally the armies would slow down and catch their breath before clashing.
“Hmm… Are they hurrying? Or are their brakes broken?”
Gowen decided there was probably an unidentified weakness in the goblins’ high morale.
He gave another order. “Vanguards, halt! Assume defensive formation! Rear guards, spears at the ready! Advance!”
There was still a kilometer’s distance between the goblins and the vanguards. It was too far for archers and mages, so Gowen decided to have the infantry assume a defensive formation.
If the enemy was being reckless, it would be foolish to just receive that mad charge straight-up; therefore, Gowen decided to go on the defensive.
The goblins did not show any signs of stopping. In fact, they started to move even faster.
Every howl that bellowed seemed to excite the goblin army further.
“Brace yourselves for impact! If you can endure this first attack, victory will be ours!” Gowen said as he watched the goblins disconnected charge close in.
“Archers, mages, fire!”
To weaken the goblin army’s charge even a little, Gowen had his range combatants fire at them. At that, arrows flew, and water and fire spells were cast.
But the one to cry out in surprise was not the goblins nor its king, but Gowen, the man who’d attacked himself.
For a sylph’s chant resounded, and a spell was invoked, protecting the goblin army from the rain of arrows.
“You’re telling me there were elves behind the goblins!?”
Gowen had miscalculated. He did not know nor expect the goblin army to have elves among their ranks.
The fact that there were enemies other than the goblins caused a slight tremor to rise in Gowen’s command.
What was worse was that the foreign element was elves.
The fangs and the centaurs that he saw raising up those clouds of dust, he could still somewhat understand. After all, they were driven away from the human world. They probably formed an alliance out of their common hate for humanity.
But the elves were different.
Though they did not stand as humanity’s equals, their long life and talent in magic has allowed them to integrate into human society. They were a race already accepted in the human world, the elven adventurers were proof of that.
Yet that very race had colluded with the goblins and was now baring its fangs.
“Damn you!” Gowen spat as his eyes fell on his soldiers.
Before the goblin army’s overwhelming pressure, Gowen’s army was delayed a little in fixing their formation, but they still made it in time.
“If you’re coming, then come! I’ll show you how to fight on the plains!”
Gowen’s soldiers assumed the closed formation. Right now, they looked just like a clump of hedgehogs.
“Cavalry, advance! Trample the enemy cavalry, and then form a concave around them! Half a full surround will do!” Gowen said.
The cavalry waiting at the back moved out.
“It’s finally our turn! We’ll dye this land in their blood!” The human platoon commander said.
The human cavalry rode onwards, their aim was none other than Paradua’s riders.
“I’m going to order everyone to charge,” the Goblin King said as he wielded zweihander on his shoulders.
“But our lines are a mess,” Gi Za said.
“It’s fine. We’ll show the humans the difference in our strength.”
“Good then,” Gi Za said with a smile before turning to Gi Do, “Gi Do! Have the druids prepare! We’ll shoot the moment the main force charges!”
The Goblin King breathed deeply.
He looked up ahead as his chest burned within.
“All soldiers, charge!!”
At the Goblin King’s bellowing howl, the entire goblin army bellowed back, frenzied.
Tl Note: The time may not be accurate. Koku (the unit of time used in this novel) is a bit confusing. Some say it’s 2 hours, some say 15 minutes, but then if I recall correctly, the author once used it as one hour, but I can’t remember what chapter that was, so I can’t confirm it… Anyway, just note that the time may not be accurate. In this chapter I’m using 2 hours for one koku.